Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Recent thinking has suggested that there may be a common process of addiction or substance abuse, regardless of the substance. A review of over 400 studies of the correlates of abuse of alcohol, tobacco, food, and caffeine (Graham & Ekdahl, 1986) identified a number of variables that appeared to be general predictors of substance abuse. The present research tested the common process model of substance abuse by using variables identified as likely common process factors in the existing literature to predict abuse of a substance for which research on predictors has been lacking.;Questionnaire scales were developed for each predictor variable and for coffee/tea consumption, dependence, and consequences. The scales were administered to 246 first year psychology students who were regular consumers of either coffee or tea.;The results generally supported the concept of a general process of addiction. The following variables were found to predict consistently across the criteria for coffee and tea abuse: consumption during adolescence, adolescent rebelliousness, consumption by parents, "personal effects" consumption, and consumption by friends. Using stepwise multiple regression of the criteria on all predictors produced models that accounted for up to 50% of variance. Additional analyses explored possible causal linkages between predictors and coffee/tea abuse.;Support for the general model of substance abuse is significant both theoretically and practically. It argues in favor of greater scientific objectivity in the study of substance use and abuse and against special status for specific substances because of historical, moral, or legal associations with those substances. In addition, the present research has demonstrated the usefulness of using the general concept as an efficient and powerful approach to substance abuse research.



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